Vulvar Atrophy and Lichen Sclerosus – What You Need to Know

You may or may not have heard of vulvar atrophy or lichen sclerosus, but odds are that you know someone who has been diagnosed one of them. The names sound alarming but know that these two conditions are treatable. The common factor between them is painful intercourse.

Vaginal atrophy occurs most frequently after menopause. It’s a thinning of the vaginal walls. This thinning is accompanied by drying and inflammation and occurs when your body’s estrogen levels decrease. This can make intercourse painful and can lead to urinary tract distress.

Other symptoms of vaginal atrophy include:

  • Vaginal burning
  • Itching
  • Frequent urination that may also include a burning sensation
  • Vaginal discharge that is unusual
  • More frequent yeast infections
  • More frequent urinary tract infections (UTIs)

This condition often goes untreated for long lengths of time at which point the skin becomes quite damaged. Potent topical steroids have been used to relieve symptoms and curb further skin damage. Laser systems, such as the MonaLisa Touch™ have shown to be effective in improving the condition of the vaginal tissue and relieving itching.

Lichen sclerosus is not as common as vaginal atrophy and is most commonly experienced in postmenopausal women. Lichen sclerosus can be the result of an imbalance of hormones or an overactive immune system. It’s a thin area of skin that appears patchy and white, usually showing up in the genital and anal area and making intercourse painful.

Note that lichen sclerosus is not limited to those areas and in some cases may affect the skin in the breast and upper arm areas. Symptoms other than the white blotchy skin, include itching, discomfort even pain and bleeding. Know that it is not contagious and can’t be spread through intercourse.

The MonaLisa Touch™ system has been highly successful as a treatment for both vaginal atrophy and lichen sclerosus. Its laser pulses are aimed at the vagina tissues and affected areas to create micro-lesions, triggering natural repair by stimulating the production of collagen and blood flow. All of this promotes lubrication which then restores hydration and elasticity to the tissue.

The MonaLisa procedure is both safe and effective. It’s a great alternative for women who don’t want to take estrogen.